SpaceX, NASA Liftoff Historic Crewed Mission To ISS

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SpaceX Crew Dragon has successfully launched the Demo-2 mission, carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. The launch marked the debut of commercial spaceflight from the US after nearly a decade. The NASA astronauts were sent to the International Space Station, the liftoff marking the beginning of manned space journeys by commercial companies.

scheduled for liftoff
 

The launch was originally scheduled for liftoff on 27 May. However, bad weather conditions forced NASA and SpaceX teams to reschedule the launch. Finally on 30 May at 3:22 PM ET (which is roughly 1:00 AM IST on 31 May), the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched into the orbit.

SpaceX, NASA Historic Liftoff

The Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon capsule lifted off from the NASA Kennedy Space Center at the scheduled time. The rocket launched off into the orbit, kickstarting the SpaceX Demo-2 mission. Heading into the orbit, astronaut Hurley radioed SpaceX's launch control, "it was incredible. Appreciate all the hard work and thanks for a great ride to space."

Shortly after lifting off into the orbit, SpaceX notched another rocket. Here, the Falcon 9 booster's first stage made a smooth landing on the SpaceX drone ship, Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Demo-2 mission has faced multiple delays, including global pandemic. In the light of the COVID-19, NASA had urged space fans to avoid traveling to Florida to view the liftoff and to maintain social distancing. However, an estimate of 150,000 spectators were present to view the debut launch.

 

NASA, SpaceX Journey

NASA's Atlantis space shuttle last touchdown was in 2011 ending a three-decade-long space career. Since then, NASA has been relying on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft to send and bring back astronauts. Around the same time, NASA opened doors to commercial space companies via the Commercial Crew Program, which SpaceX and Boeing won.

While Boing is facing multiple delays with software malfunction, SpaceX has urged on. And now, NASA and SpaceX have their first manned mission liftoff. The success of the launch story will drive forward many of NASA's ambitious space missions, include the upcoming Artemis mission to get astronauts on the Moon once again.

For now, astronauts Behnken and Hurley will need about 19 hours to catch up with the space station. During that time, the astronauts will test out Crew Dragon's onboard systems, collecting data so NASA can certify the spacecraft to carry humans.

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